Customer journey: Make meaningful connections with your audience.  

Companies leading in customer experience are three times more likely to exceed their business goals . The customer journey - how people interact with your brand across devices, channels and locations - is key to their success. Make your customer journey the bedrock of your customer experience: smart, seamless and tailored to individual people. 

What is the customer journey?

The customer journey is how a customer interacts with your brand. This starts from the first touchpoint - whether it’s walking into your store or landing on your webpage - to the buying point and your post-purchase relationship.


Ready to reboot your customer journey? Adobe can help. Request a demo or arrange a call-back today.

The 5 customer journey stages:

  • Awareness: Your potential customer has a need. They learn of your brand or products.
  • Discovery: The customer considers whether your business, product or service can fulfil their need.
  • Shop: The customer explores your site or store to find the right product for them - how helpful are you?
  • Purchase: The customer finds the right product or service. How easy is the journey to purchase?
  • Post-purchase: The customer wants to know that support after purchase will be simple and straightforward.

The customer journey is no longer straightforward. Today, people switch from laptop to smartwatch, app to email. They keep in touch to you on social media as well as the phone. Every brand is competing for customer attention, all the time. Customer journey analytics and customer journey tools are key to creating a seamless, end to end experience. 


The customer journey is affected by:

  • The device your customer uses
  • The channel they are on
  • Their previous interactions with your brand
  • Their purchase history

Examples of a customer journey

Every customer journey is different. Here are two examples of different customer journeys

Finding a new hair product

  1. Customer sees a blog about hairstyles on social media
  2. Your product is mentioned - and they follow the link to your site
  3. Intrigued, they run a Google search for product reviews
  4. The reviews are mixed, so they decide to visit the shop
  5. Once in-store, they view and like the product
  6. Quickly, they use their smartphone to find the best price
  7. Depending on the results, they buy online or in-store
  8. They share their purchase on social and write a review

Getting more from TV football

  1. Customer downloads your football app
  2. They set their favourite team
  3. You then serve them relevant content
  4. Such as TV packages to watch that team
  5. And emails rounding up news and interviews
  6. Member offers to relevant experiences
  7. Customer enjoys the content
  8. Becomes an advocate among friends

Ready to reboot your customer journey? Adobe can help. Request a demo or arrange a call-back today. 

Why is the customer journey important?

Getting your customer journey right lays the foundations for good customer experience. So, it’s no coincidence that customer journey, targeting and personalisation are all identified as top priorities by businesses in 2020.


Targeting and personalisation


Customer journey management

Customer experience and customer journey

Today customer experience is everything - so much so it’s the focus of the 2020 Digital Trends report. But every customer is different. They buy different things, work at different times and shop in different ways. Each time someone interacts with your brand, they expect you to understand them.

Your messaging should be tailored to each person. For example:

  • Using an app to offer their favourite morning coffee, on the house.
  • Serving an email revealing hidden gems to visit on their holiday.

Customer journey and personalisation

Customer experience centres on personalisation - the ability to target the right customer with the right message at the right time. To do this, you must understand each individual customer’s journey.

With the click of a button, personalisation can evaluate a customer’s interests, location and touchpoints to offer a unique and personalised digital experience.

It could be you offer a customer gig tickets for their favourite band, via email, after they finish work. Such richly personalised communication makes every message count, every time.

“Understanding the context of the customer and the environment is more important than anything. The in-between moments. Understanding the next thing they’re asking for without them asking you. That’s really innovation.”

Ryan Green  |  Senior manager, Marketing, Adobe

Learn more about personalisation

Customer journey benefits

Delivering seamless and personalised experiences across the customer journey has the potential to:

  • Increase customer satisfaction by 20%
  • Lift revenue by up to 15%
  • Lower costs by as much as 20%

The Harvard Business Review

But it’s not all about the bottom line. Getting your customer journey right can bring many benefits to your business.

How businesses can benefit from successful customer journey

  • Know your customers: Bring to life the person behind the device and focus on their likes, dislikes and behaviours.
  • Own your touchpoints: Understand how individual touchpoints perform across key metrics, such as conversions and brand advocacy.
  • Analyse interactions: Better understand each individual interaction to better manage contact fatigue.
  • Personalise your content: Learn how people interact with your brand across different touchpoints to deliver personalised experiences at the right moment. 
  • Learn from success: Identify your best performing customer journeys and apply learnings from them to others.
  • Fix problems: See when a specific journey is failing and put steps in place to fix the area experiencing the spike in fallouts.
  • Collaborate better: Work smarter across your teams rather than in silos to improve customer experience.
  • Deliver results: Increase customer satisfaction and lift revenue, allowing you to recognise the success/failures of a programme.

“In a world with customer journey analytics, it all changes. Like the oxygen we breathe, analytics brings life to the customer behind those devices, over time getting to know their favourite pastry choice, when they’re most likely to buy gas and how long they stay online while in the station’s café.”

Eric Matisoff  |  Analytics and Data Science Evangelist at Adobe

Ready to reboot your customer journey? Adobe can help. Request a demo or arrange a call-back today 

Customer journey mapping

Because each person’s experience is different, no two customer journeys are the same. Mapping demonstrates how potential customers experience your business.


What is customer journey mapping?

Customer journey mapping gathers every potential interaction a customer can have with your brand in one place. By bringing together all your possible touchpoints, you step into your customer’s shoes. Your map will start life as a list, but eventually should become a visual.

"A customer journey map is a very simple idea: a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience or a service or any combination.”

Harvard Business Review

Importance of customer journey mapping 

Mapping helps you to solve your customers’ problems. You may be familiar with the concept of the customer journey, but mapping is essential to understand how people interact with your brand. Today, they swap device and channel, go to check out and then right back to the beginning before finally making a purchase - or leaving empty handed. Trying to understand this complex, non-linear journey without a visual map is a major challenge.

Benefits of customer journey mapping

  • Collate your assets: Brings together customer profiles with the stages of customer journey (awareness/discovery etc.)
  • Get a complete view: See the whole journey from a bird’s eye view - touchpoints and engagements, shopping triggers.
  • Find the pain points: Identifies the touchpoints and channels that see people drop out of the journey.
  • Learn the context: Maps channels to different stages - i.e. where is your customer when in the awareness phase?
  • Fix broken bits: Identify frictions in your journey - i.e. where a product is not shown when following a link.
  • Revise and remodel: Refine the journey with actions to smooth these frictions and help people fulfil their need.

How to create a customer journey map

To create a customer journey map, bring together your customer profiles with all your touchpoints and engagements - your platforms, channels, advertising and checkout. Grab some markers and a flipchart and create rough diagrams that collate everything detailed below:


Customer journey

  • The five customer journey stages - awareness, discovery, shop, purchase and post purchase

Customer and context

  • Audience segments: The people you are trying to reach across each touchpoint - including those priority audiences for each journey.
  • Customer profiles: Everything you know about your customers and how they have interacted with you.
  • Devices: How do they interact with you - smartphone, laptop or tablet? And where and when?


  • Touchpoints: Website, apps, search engine results, paid advertising, email, social media. In-store, print advertising, telephone customer service.
  • Awareness and triggers: How do they land with you? Search or advertising? What compels them to make a purchase?
  • Frictions: Highlight touchpoints/interactions you expect to be troublesome.

What about research
The best customer journeys are realistic and authentic. To make this happen your mapping must be rooted in your data.

  • Qualitative: Customer reviews, social comments etc
  • Quantitative: Website analytics, customer surveys etc

Conducting your own customer and market research can give your customer journey even greater authenticity. Things to try:

  • Focus groups of target customers
  • One-to-one interviews with customers
  • In-store observations of how people shop
  • Competitor analysis of websites


Bringing your map together

Get your whiteboard and markers. Sketch out each of the above sections on their own section of the board.

  • Customer journey stage
  • Customer and context
  • Experience

The idea is the sections are interrelated. So, you can see which elements of your customer profile relate to the awareness stage, which touchpoints and engagements are linked to the purchase stage etc.

Your list should now evolve into a graphic - something interactive that teams can engage with and edit is ideal. But it doesn’t have to be hugely sophisticated - a static flow diagram is better than nothing.

Customer experience journey map examples


Flow Chart

A flow chart plots the potential customer journey in a series of interlinking boxes that build a story as they progress down the page. The boxes are linked by arrows. Sometimes several potential outcomes are possible from a single box.


Square Table

The table is another popular way to plot your customer journey. Each row of the table represents a different element of the journey. For example, the top will be the persona and the second the touchpoints they encounter as they work their way through.



More contemporary and design-focused, the wheel frames the customer journey stages in a circular journey, with the user at the centre and the different touchpoints and engagements plotted around the circle. Wheel customer journeys can become cluttered.



The traditional timeline is good for plotting a linear customer journey where one thing follows on from the next in a strict sequence. Such journeys are easy to understand and grasp at a glance, but issues emerge when you want to introduce non-liner stages.

Ready to reboot your customer journey? Adobe can help. Request a demo or arrange a call-back today 

Customer journey analysis

You can only really begin to learn from and shape your customer journeys once you see how people interact with them. Customer journey analytics stitch together data from your customer relationship management system, content management system, analytics, social media and paid media to visualise how customers move through their journey. This will help you to…

  • Identify high-performing journeys
  • See how people switch from laptop to smartphone
  • Learn which interactions lead to conversion
  • See where people are dropping out
  • Fix the priority problem areas
  • Compare customer segments

“Data is going to unlock the complexity of any number of customer journeys and we can understand and connect with them at the right time. And every one of them will be slightly different.”

Ivan Pollard  |  Global CMO, General Mills 

Customer journey mapping tools

There are many different customer journey tools you can use to transform data from across different channels and touchpoints into an end-to-end customer experience that delivers personalised content. These include:

Campaign management
Give customers connected and relevant experiences across multiple channels, as well as off-line channels such as direct mail or your call centre. Say hello to cross-channel campaigns.

Preference management
Boost engagement and drive results by establishing a preference centre. Learn what interests them - from products to content  - and how they want to engage.

Targeted segmentation
Track which products and topics interest your customers and target them with interactions when they want them, by controlling how many messages they receive over a set time. 

Customer profiles
Bring together customer interactions, channels and devices to create an overall customer profile. See the bigger picture to identify which touchpoints are most successful.

Personalised offers
Empowered by data from across touchpoints, you can deliver personalised content to customers based on their individual needs - including location, loyalty status and customer lifetime value.

“The achievement I’m probably most proud of is my team. They are such superstars. With help from Adobe Campaign, we changed from a marketing function to an experience function.”

Saul Lopes, Customer Lifecycle Lead, Virgin Holidays

Customer journey examples - Adobe case study.

Virgin Holidays has invested in its customer journeys and has seen a huge boost in engagement, with its seamless customer experience and personalised content.

“Our customers are aspiring adventurers who take great pleasure in researching their holidays, whether that’s looking into a typical package holiday or something more adventurous through Virgin Holiday Experiences. We want to help our customers find the information that they need at every stage of the sales cycle and inspire them without taking over the planning process.”

—Saul Lopes  |  Customer Lifecycle Lead at Virgin Holidays.

The results for Virgin Holidays with Adobe

  • Contextual messages achieved 90% engagement
  • Cross-channel messages achieved 90% engagement 


Learn more about Virgin Holidays and Adobe


How can I analyse the customer journey?

Analysing the customer journey begins by using tools to closer examine your data from each customer’s individual interaction. It enables you to get to know your customers better across different devices and monitor the success or failure of each interaction. This allows you to get a better understanding of what works for which customer and pinpoint where customers are dropping off.

What is customer journey management?

Customer journey management involves tracking each individual interaction a customer has with your brand. This is everything from the websites they visit and the apps they use, to off-line interactions like sales calls, company events and conferences.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience is exactly that: the end-to-end experience your customer has when shopping with you. Today’s customer experience is complex - crossing channels, devices and time zones. Good customer experience - CX for short - makes this as seamless as possible. It’s intrinsically linked with customer journey management and personalisation.

What is a customer journey touchpoint

Put simply, a touchpoint is an interaction or potential interaction with your brand. Common examples include landing on your website, liking your social post, clicking a digital ad for your brand. But it’s not just digital. Off-line touchpoints include visiting your store or speaking with your customer service. Customer journey mapping brings together these touchpoints to give a broader customer view.

Related Content

Get out of your email marketing rut.

How to Create Emails Your Customers Actually Want to Open.

Let’s talk about what Adobe Campaign can do for your business.